Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula risks jail next month if he fails to pay Sh5.8 million election petition costs he owes former Minister Musikari Kombo.
Bungoma High Court has given the NASA co-principal up to May 10 to pay up the cumulative amounts arising from two decisions in which he lost to Kombo. The order was issued on April 5, and to this date, Wetang’ula has not paid. Kombo was Wetangula’s main rival in the 2013 Bungoma Senatorial contest.
He challenged Wetangula’s electoral victory at the High Court and won with costs. Wetang’ula appealed the decision and lost the appeal with costs.
In the High Court decision, Justice F Gikonyo capped the limit of costs payable to Kombo at Sh4 million. The same amount was affixed by Court of Appeal judges David Maraga, F Azangalala and J Mohamed for the appeal costs.
When the computations were made, the High Court costs came to Sh3.8 million while the Court of Appeal costs rounded to Sh1.7 million. The amount was to be paid by Wetangu’la, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its returning officer Madahana Mbaya. “Under the law, a judgment debtor can go for any of the parties once judgment is issued jointly and severally. They are equally liable and it’s up to them to agree how to share the costs.”
“In our case, I advised my client that we go for Wetang’ula because it’s always easier to execute against an individual as opposed to an institution,” lawyer Alfred Ndambiri for Kombo told the Sunday Standard.
Ndambiri says his client has been unable to extract the costs from Wetang’ula since 2014. He says they even instructed auctioneers to attach Wetang’ula’s property but it did not help. They then decided to seek the court’s help.
On February 17, Ndambiri moved to court and applied for double execution of the court’s decree on the two matters.
He was required to appear in court on March 8 to show cause why execution of the decrees should not be granted.
“Your presence will be dispensed with if the sum of Ksh3.8 million being the amount/balance of decree together with interest cost of execution an collection amount is lodged in court before the said date,” the notice to show cause letter to Wetang’ula stated.
On March 8, Wetang’ula did not show up in court and was instead given a new date of April 5 when his advocate Amos Makokha showed up in his place. It was then that the show cause notice was stayed for 30 days to facilitate payment.